Residents of a seaside village in the UK are upset after a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois used a photo of their neighborhood to attack his Democratic opponent.
Nick Stella, who is running against incumbent Rep. Bill FosterGeorge (Bill) William FosterOvernight Defense: Army now willing to rename bases named after Confederates | Dems demand answers on ‘unfathomable’ nuke testing discussions | Pentagon confirms death of north African al Qaeda leader Top Democrats demand answers on Trump administration’s ‘unfathomable’ consideration of nuclear testing House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes MORE (D) in Illinois’ 11th district, used an image of Jaywick Sands, near Clacton in Essex, in a Facebook advertisement.
The ad shows a run-down street and houses, and warns voters that supporting Stella’s opponent would be a return to “foreclosures, unemployment, and economic recession!”
“Only YOU can stop this from becoming reality!” reads the ad, which does not name the town shown in the imagery.
Paul Honeywood, the Tendring District Council Cabinet Member who oversees Jaywick Sands, blasted Stella for using an old image of the village for political gain.
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“I know that many Jaywick Sands residents will be outraged at being smeared in this way, and rightly so,” Honeywood said, according to the BBC.
Jaywick Sands was rated England’s most depraved neighborhood in 2010 and 2015, according to government data, and has since been subject to significant infrastructure improvements.
Tendring District Council provided the BBC with a more recent photo of the area, which shows a newly paved road and homes in better condition.
Raquel Mitchell, director of operations for the Stella campaign, told the BBC that the campaign did not intend to defame the village.
“We have learned, and it is great to know, the town pictured has recovered from economic hardship,” Mitchell said. “Let it serve as an an example of how government responding to the needs of the people can overcome hardship. May those days remain well behind us.
“I’m sure Jaywick Sands is charming,” she added. “Perhaps a future visit would be a great way to exchange ideas between the two areas.”
Foster is expected to win re-election in the Illinois district.